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Pilot Fired After Voicing Concerns for Risks of Work Accidents in Georgia and Elsewhere

A former commercial airline pilot will be getting his job back soon, after officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ordered AirTran Airways to reinstate the employee to his former position with the company. The airline’s pilot was originally let go from his job after he reported a number of mechanical concerns. In addition to getting his job back, the company has been ordered to give the pilot over $1 million in back wages, compensatory damages and interest. Results from a Whistleblower Protection Program inspection concluded that the when the employee was fired, the company was using it as an act of retaliation by the employer and that AirTran was in fact violating OSHA’s whistleblower provision. Firing or reprimanding employees who report work accidents in Georgia and elsewhere is unfair, unconstitutional and covered under workers compensation claims.
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“Airline workers must be free to raise safety and security concerns, and companies that diminish those rights through intimidation or retaliation must be held accountable,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels.

Our Atlanta workers compensation attorneys understand that the AirTran employee was let go from his pilot position back in August 2007, pending an investigative hearing into the sudden increase in the number of reports from the employee regarding a number of mechanical problems he claimed to observe. The investigative hearing was held on September 6, 2007. This hearing lasted for only about 15 minutes. Just a week later, the pilot was let go from the company, saying he didn’t adequately answer the company’s questions on standards regarding the spike in concerns. Investigations from OSHA determined that the pilot didn’t refuse to answer any of the questions and that the answers he provided were appropriate and that the dismissal of the pilot was retaliatory.

Those who raise safety concerns in the workplace are to be protected under workers’ rights.

A whistleblower provision is enforced by OSHA. Within this provision OSHA has a number of ways to protect those who raise concerns regarding workplace safety. OSHA pushes 20 addition statutes to help to protect employees who speak out about trucking, health, nuclear, environmental, maritime, consumer, food, securities, safety, pipelines, rail, health care and product safety laws.

Retaliation from an employer can include:

-Getting fired.

-Being blacklisted.

-Being demoted.

-Being held back from receiving overtime or a deserved promotion.

-Unnecessary disciplining.

-Failing to receive deserved benefits.

-Failing to be hired to rehired.

-Being purposely intimidated.

-Receiving workplace threats.

-Cutting deserved pay or scheduled hours.

Workers who feel an employer has retaliated against them for raising safety concerns are asked to file a complaint with the secretary of labor to induce an investigation from OSHA officials. Call OSHA’s regional office in Atlanta at (678) 237-0400 to report your concerns and seek support from an Atlanta workers compensation lawyer to help to ensure that you’re properly compensated.

If you, someone you work with or a family member has been treated unfairly, injured at work or needs to file a disability claim in Atlanta or the elsewhere in the area, it is critical for to contact J. Franklin Burns, P.C., to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. To schedule a free consultation call 1-404-303-7770 today.

More Blog Entries:

Georgia Worker Accidents on OSHA’s Radar, Georgia Workers Compensation Attorney Blog, January 18, 2012